With the temperature peaking to an all time high, it is extremely important to take care of your health in the scorching heat. Spending too much time under the sun has its drawbacks, and if you are not cautious, excessive exposure to sun can lead to getting sunburns, dehydration, cramps, heat exhaustion, fainting or in extreme cases heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.
One of the most common condition people suffer during summer is dehydration, wherein the body loses significant amount of water along with minerals and electrolytes. Rigorous exercise or any illness such as fever, loose motions or vomiting can aggravate dehydration, which can occur in people of all ages, but young children, babies and older adults are more prone to it.
Dr Santosh Datar, consultant doctor and medical director, Ziqitza Health Care Ltd shares the most common symptoms of dehydration and suggests a few precautionary tips that will keep you protected.
It is often easy to miss the signs of dehydration, so here are the most common symptoms that one can look out for:
*Dry and cracked lips
*Dark coloured urine
*In severe hydration, fainting, confusion or altered consciousness
If you are alert and watch out for these symptoms, you will be able to remedy the situation quite effectively.
*Drink plenty of water and fluids
The best way to avoid dehydration is, in fact, to stay hydrated. You should drink plenty of water throughout the day, but this can also be substituted with coconut water, lemon water, fresh buttermilk, clear soup or fruit juices (without sugar) once in a while to keep up your electrolyte levels. Sweetened fruit juices and cold drinks should be avoided.
*Wear appropriate clothing
Loose-fitting, light weight, light-coloured cotton clothes are ideal to be worn during this season. Dark colours absorb more heat, which in turn, will increase your body temperature, while tight clothes will absorb the sweat, instead of letting it evaporate from your body. Sweating is body’s natural cooling system, and it is best to wear airy clothing which allows your body to keep cool naturally.
*Protection from direct exposure to sunlight
Avoid going outdoors during midday if possible. If you have to go, walk in the shade, wear wide brim hats, sunglasses or use an umbrella. Use a sunscreen with SPF higher than 15 to avoid getting sunburns. If your day plans include a visit to the pool or a beach, use a water resistant one with higher SPF rating. Just as you use sunscreen for the skin, use a lip balm with SPF protection to block out the sun rays.
Diuretics are substances or foods that increase the production of urine, which in turn results in loss of fluids from the body. Alcohol and caffeine containing beverages like coffee, cola have diuretic properties and should be avoided. Avoid tobacco and smoking.
*Eat fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, oranges, grapes and banana are rich in water content, essential minerals, and electrolytes. Consume them as much as you can through the day for natural hydration. Additionally, avoid spicy, oily and pungent foods as they can increase acidity.
*Avoid heavy workouts
Heavy workouts can cause copious amount of sweating, leading to dehydration. If you are planning a workout, do it indoors if possible and drink plenty of water before hand. You can carry a water bottle with you and take sips regularly.
*Memorise all emergency service numbers
In case the situation worsens one needs to immediately call for professional help as time is of utmost essence. It is therefore necessary for everyone, including children and the elderly, to memorise relevant EMS numbers, like 102/108 for emergency medical aid. These may vary from state to state and region to region.